West Stanly takes 1-0 lead over West Stokes in regional series

Published 12:14 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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West Stanly’s Lady Colts jumped to a 2-0 first inning lead and never trailed in capturing the first game of the Western 2A Regional Series on Tuesday at Red Cross.

The visiting West Stokes Wildcats missed an opportunity to take an early lead after Kaylee Hobgood led off with a single, but was caught stealing, rendering useless a two-out single by Wildcat pitcher Natalie Jones, which would likely have driven Hobgood in.

The Colts proceeded to take advantage of two Wildcat errors in the bottom of the frame. Teagan Ritchie reached on a one-out single, and stole second, then scored when Ashlyn Hughes reached on an error. Hughes later crossed the plate on yet another error.

Gracelyn Goforth’s two-out solo homer to left-center put West Stokes on the board in the top half of the second inning.

The Colts added three more runs in the bottom of the third.

Elizabeth Ingle led off with a dinger to center field, pushing the lead to 3-1, after which Brooklyn Lovin reached on an error and later scored on an Aliyah Rush hit. Rush advanced to third on a single by Lilly Hartsell before scoring on pitcher Lily Huneycutt’s sacrifice fly to center.

Huneycutt proceeded to retire the Wildcats in order in the fourth and fifth innings. Meanwhile, West Stanly stranded single runners in both frames.

The Wildcats’ final run came in the top of the sixth as a result of a Colts miscue. Olivia Goforth reached on a single to lead off the frame, but both she and Hobgood were erased on a 5-3 double play. Huneycutt fanned Christa Moore, but the ball eluded the catcher, allowing her to reach first, after which Jones doubled to right-center, sending Moore home.

After Jones retired the Colts in order in the bottom of the sixth, West Stokes threatened briefly in the final frame. Katelyn Tucker launched a laser-like double into the left center field gap, followed by Gracelyn Goforth, who reached on an error, allowing the runners to reach second and third respectively.

Huneycutt then retired Ashlyn Cox on a punch-out, and induced a foul pop-up from Olivia Goforth, which Colts third-baseman Sadee Lawhon tracked down to end the game.

With the potential of wet weather on Thursday, the two teams agreed to play game two of the series at West Stokes on Wednesday night.

“The top of the seventh was intense, but we are happy to get a win in game one,” said Colts head coach Emily Smith.

“We told the team after the game that we must work hard and keep the same intensity,” she added. “I’m proud of the way they fought tonight.”